First, the bad news: the pill may be playing a bigger role in marriages than preventing unwanted pregnancy. According to a study comparing women taking pills versus those who weren’t during the time they met their partner, pills may actually make women less physically attracted to their partner and less sexually satisfied. The good news? The same study also revealed that women on the pill were also generally happier.
The research, led by Craig Roberts from the University of Stirling, asked 2,519 women from the U.S., the U.K. as well as the Czech Republic to answer a questionnaire asking about the nature of their relationships and their sex lives with the fathers of their first children. The women were all, on average, 37 years old to ensure a level of comparability among respondents.
In particular, women who entered the relationship while being on the pill were overall more content with the non-sexual components of the relationship, such as their mate’s capacity to look after and provide for their children. 10 percent of the women were more likely to stick to the relationship.
Said Roberts, “Overall, women who met their partner on the pill had longer relationships – by two years on average – and were less likely to separate. So there is both good news and bad news for women who meet [their partner] while on the pill. One effect seems to compensate for the other."
The researchers believe it must be the fertility-controlling hormones from the pill causing this to happen. These hormones have the capacity to influence the traits that the women find ideal in a mate.
According to other studies, a key factor in establishing attraction among potential mates is finding a genetically dissimilar partner, particularly when it comes to genes called the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). This is probably due to a natural inclination of people to look for a mate with an MHC most unlike their own, in order to provide the best chances of survival for their children through a “diversified immune system.”